The television series “Lassie” made Lassie the beloved symbol for Collies in America. Your new Collie puppy won’t measure up to the wonder dog, but you’ll most likely find him a wonderful family dog.
The Family Protector
The Collie was originally bred to herd sheep, and still has a strong protective instinct, which makes them an excellent choice for a family dog. The American Kennel Club classifies the Collie as part of the Herding Group. These dogs weigh 55 to 80 pounds and stand 22 to 26 inches tall.
The Collie is strong and graceful and has lots of endurance. This dog’s almond shaped eyes seem to sparkle with intelligence, whether they are brown or blue in color. The Collie’s ears — 3/4 erect with 1/4 folded — make its appearance both alert and appealing. The coat can be either rough or smooth. The rough coat is longer and fuller than the smooth coat. This breed can come in sable and white, tricolor (black, white and tan), or blue merle (tortoise shell) colors.
The Collie enjoys living in the midst of an active family. This breed is not a good choice for apartment living, since it’s a large dog and loves to spend time outside. A home with a big yard is ideal. Although the Collie is friendly and outgoing, this dog is protective of its family and takes its duties as a watchdog seriously. Your Collie will bark at intruders, whether they are people, cats, squirrels, or pieces of trash blowing around the yard.
Stubborn, But Trainable
The Collie can be quite headstrong and can get into a lot of mischief as a puppy. You should consider attending puppy obedience classes with your Collie, since it is easier to train a small puppy that hasn’t developed bad habits than a 60-pound dog that has. Also, be firm with your puppy about staying on the floor if you do not want Collie hair on all of your furniture. Once you allow your dog onto the furniture, he will feel that he has a right to be there any time you leave the room.
The Collie breed has few health problems. Eye diseases and PRA (a genetic defect leading to blindness) are the most common problems these dogs face.
A Good Eater
Collies can pack away a lot of food. These dogs have a tendency to overeat, so it is best to give them 3 small meals a day. If your Collie develops a bulge around his middle, talk to your veterinarian about switching to a food that promotes weight loss.
Although a rough coated Collie has long hair, the dog does not need extensive grooming. Brush through your dog’s coat several times a week to avoid mats, paying close attention to the hair around his face, behind his ears, and around his legs. A smooth coated Collie needs only occasional grooming.
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